Monday, May 29, 2006


Courtesy of
Historic WWII-era baseball game celebrated as a model of American sportsmanship

FRESNO, CA. - (May 2, 2006)
The Nisei Baseball Research Project (NBRP) is proud to announce that the legendary Gila River Butte High Eagles and state-champion Tucson High Badgers baseball teams will reunite 61 years after their historic meeting in Rivers, Arizona – the Japanese-American internment camp on the Gila River Indian Community.

Both teams are scheduled to receive special recognition through events sponsored by the NBRP, Tucson High alumni organizations and the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame (PCSHF). Preliminary activities include recognition of both teams on August 13 during "Hall of Fame Night” at Tucson Electric Park, home of the Tucson Sidewinders, Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and a special award presentation during the PCSHF Annual Banquet on October 15.

The ceremonial first pitch for the “Hall of Fame Night” game will be thrown by the starting pitchers for both 1945 squads, the Eagles’ Tets Furakawa, 78, of Fresno, CA, and the Badgers’ Lowell Bailey, 78, of Phoenix.

The legendary Eagles vs. Badgers game occurred on April 18, 1945, and was later described by head coach Kenichi Zenimura as “one of the most thrilling chapters in the history of Butte (Gila River) baseball.”

As for the game itself, the Eagles defeated the three-time state champions Badgers 11-10 in ten innings. Afterwards, both teams displayed an impressive level of respect and sportsmanship by sharing a post-game meal and sumo-wrestling lessons. Weeks later, head coaches Zenimura and Hank Slagle attempted to schedule a rematch in Tucson. Unfortunately, their request was denied by local authorities.

Zenimura’s disappointment with the cancellation was echoed by Slagle, who later wrote, “I sincerely hope it won’t be too long till we are all thinking straight again and can live together in a true Democracy that we Americans of all races have created.”

This single ballgame – played during a time when the nation was deeply divided by war – has become an important symbol of American brotherhood and goodwill. It also demonstrates how athletics help transcend barriers created by language, race, religion, and politics.

Learn more about this legendary game and how to participate in the upcoming reunion events.
Courtesy of

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Healthy Dose of Perspective

Excerpt From the Los Angeles Times
By Steve Henson
Times Staff Writer
May 27, 2006

WASHINGTON — Aaron Sele set his alarm and made the trip because he was struck by the inspirational story of Maj. David Rozelle, who has run marathons and triathlons despite losing a leg during the Iraq war.

For Nomar Garciaparra, it was about giving back. For Andre Ethier, it was about gaining perspective.

The three players were part of a 15-person Dodgers contingent that visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday morning and spent several hours with wounded soldiers.

"Shaking hands, flesh to flesh, with guys who have given so much and whose lives are changed forever, it was an honor to meet them," Ethier said.

Although his grandfather and four great-uncles served in World War II, Ethier, 24, said he hadn't given the armed forces much thought.

"Three years ago I was watching from my dorm room at Arizona State when we were bombing Iraq," he said. "But none of my friends are over there. It didn't quite seem real."

It was sobering for the players to meet soldiers who have lost limbs or had multiple surgeries.

"Some of them are younger than me, that was the shocking part," Ethier said. "It was eye-opening. It puts in perspective where we are in life. Going 0 for 5 in the big leagues isn't the worst thing that can happen. I'm playing for fun, and guys are sacrificing their lives there."

The visit was initiated by an e-mail to the Dodgers website from a physician in response to the 30-year anniversary of Rick Monday's famed flag-rescuing episode.

Monday's wife contacted the doctor, Lt. Col. John Pitman, who met with the group Friday. Manager Grady Little, most of the coaches and several broadcasters went along with the three players.

"We were as excited to meet them as they were to meet us," Sele said. "It was a pretty incredible experience."

Garciaparra said he was touched but didn't want to elaborate."I'd just rather keep that private," he said. "But it was nice we went."

Go to for the rest of the article.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Nice Spring Night for a Boy of Summer

Courtesy of L.A. Times
By Bill Dwyre
May 16, 2006

The old Dodger walked slowly. He will be 80 in September and has an arthritic leg, so rushing wasn't a consideration. Nor would it have served any purpose.

This was another quiet homecoming for Duke Snider.He lives in Fallbrook and says he comes back once or twice a year. To be sure, it wasn't Ebbets Field, but a Dodger in Dodger Stadium knows he is home. If he needed more assurance, Snider needed only to recall that his single to center field was the first Dodger hit in Dodger Stadium.

That was opening day, 1962, the only year Snider played there. It was his last of 16 years as a Dodger, followed by unproductive, phase-out years with the New York Mets in '63 and the San Francisco Giants in '64.

"By then, I couldn't play," he says. "But I had four kids to feed." The elevator opened to a tunnel leading to the field. Along the walls were huge pictures of star players, some whose numbers have been retired, some who are in the Hall of Fame. There were Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella — many others. And there, where it belonged, was No. 4, a number retired in 1980, the same year its owner was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.

The Duke of Flatbush, the center fielder of the Boys of Summer, now stood among them.

[You can read the rest of the article at]

Friday, May 12, 2006

Parting shots: Two local men recall being witness to Babe Ruth's final three home runs

Wednesday, May 10, 2006
By Rick Shrum,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

BABE RUTH WAS 41 AND HITTING .150, well below his weight of 250. No longer a Yankee, no longer an American Leaguer, the prodigious Bambino was near the end of his prodigious career when he arrived in Pittsburgh in 1935.

Paul Warhola and Sam Sciullo didn't care. They were 12 going on 13, they loved baseball and they revered the Babe, who had been released in the offseason and signed by the Boston Braves.
So they went to Forbes Field, separately, that day, May 25, to see Ruth in only his second appearance against the Pirates. A mere home run would have satisfied them. Instead, they watched him launch three over the right-field wall -- into the lower deck, then the upper, then over the majestic roof. Numbers 712, 713 and 714.

Read rest of article here

Courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Courtesy of Mudville Magazine

Thirty years ago this summer, I fell in love with baseball. On June 28, 1976, I sat down to watch Mark Fidrych take the mound for the Detroit Tigers. He was pitching against the hated Yankees on ABC's Game of the Week, and I had no idea what I was about to get into. For this kid, all of eight years old, in a strange new town, moved out of a home with a big yard and into a tiny box apartment on the campus of Central Michigan University, with a newly divorced mother, watching this guy Fidrych go through his motions left me forever mesmerized. I'd never played ball, never owned a glove or a bat, never even played catch. Frankly, I don't even know why the game was on. But as soon as I saw it, saw Fidrych take his quick tosses, heard the crack of bat and ball, saw the darkened shadows of Tiger Stadium, I wanted to learn more immediately. And learn more I did.

See the rest of article at

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ex-Brown Jim Delsing Dies

Courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By Keith Schildroth

To hear teammates and the opposition tell the story, former St. Louis Browns outfielder Jim Delsing was much more than the answer to a trivia question and part of one of the more bizzare events in the history of baseball.

Delsing, who spent 10 seasons in the big leagues, including more than two seasons with the Browns, died Thursday (May 4, 2006) at his home in Chesterfield from complications of cancer. He was 80.

He was born and raised in Rudolph, Wis., and signed a pro contract as a shortstop at age 16 in 1942 with Green Bay of the Wisconsin State League. After five seasons in the minor leagues, Delsing joined the Chicago White Sox in 1948 and played 20 games.

Delsing went to the minors before being traded to the New York Yankees in 1949. The club traded him to the Browns on June 15, 1950.

Delsing played 69 games for the Browns in 1950 and finished with a .263 batting average. His play in center field was consistent, and he finished with a .994 fielding percentage.

"He was just a good all-around ballplayer," said former Browns and Washington Senators star Roy Sievers. "Jim was a very good outfielder."

Delsing became part of one of the more colorful tales of baseball when the Browns met Detroit in a doubleheader at Sportsman's Park on Aug. 19, 1951. St. Louis owner Bill Veeck had signed midget Eddie Gaedel to play in the second game. After Tigers pitcher Bob "Sugar" Cain walked pinch hitter Gaedel on four pitches, Browns manager Zack Taylor sent Delsing in to pinch run.

Delsing once said: "It was just a three-ring circus, with a couple of rings missing."

"Why they (fans) remember that more than anything, I don't know," said former teammate Don Lenhardt. "Jim was a good teammate to have on your ballclub. He was a very good fielder and a good ballplayer. I've known him for over 50 years, and we became very good friends."

Delsing was traded to Detroit in 1952, and in '53 he had a career year with 62 RBIs, 11 home runs and a .288 batting average. His play in the field again was spectacular from 1953-55. He committed only two errors in 1954-55 and compiled a .996 fielding percentage in 1954.

Later in life, Delsing worked for more than 30 years with the St. Louis Review. He was active in numerous Catholic charities, including the St. Vincent de Paul Society, St. Nicholas food pantry and Ascension Altar Society.

There will be no visitation. Delsing donated his body to Washington University Medical School.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday at Ascension of Chesterfield, 230 Santa Maria Drive. Contributions may be made to The Backstoppers, P.O. Box 66927, St. Louis, Mo. 63166.

He is survived by his wife, Roseanne; three daughters, Jamie Delsing of New Orleans, Kim Delsing of Chicago and Moochie Twellman of St. Louis; two sons, Jay Delsing of St. Louis and Bart Delsing of Boca Raton, Fla.; and 10 grandchildren.

Courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Friday, May 05, 2006

Disability in Baseball: Bagwell's Long Goodbye

Courtesy of Workers' Compensation Insider
May 05, 2006

It's a sunny, mild Friday and the mind wanders away from work, to the ballpark. The Insider has been thinking about Jeff Bagwell.

For Red Sox fans, Bagwell will always be the one who got away, traded in 1990 to the Houston Astros in an ill-advised deal of legendary proportions. The Sox acquired the services of an aging relief pitcher named Larry Anderson for a couple of months. Anderson was gone by the end of the season.

Bagwell went on to a stellar career with Houston, ringing up huge numbers with his bat. His lifetime batting average is near .300. He is ranked among the top five first basemen of all time. Now, in the twilight of his career, his skills are diminishing. The question has become, does a man who can barely throw a baseball 35 feet meet the definition of disabled?

Bagwell's disability is the subject of a lawsuit between the Houston Astros, who say he's disabled, and Connecticut General Life Insurance, who says he was not disabled during the period the disability policy was in effect.

To acquire disability coverage, the Astros paid $2,409,343 in premiums. (You have to wonder how underwriters and actuaries determine premiums for this type of risk.) Bagwell makes about $18 million a year. (We are a nation with awesomely aligned priorities, that's for sure!) The terms of the Policy are relatively straightforward. It provides a schedule of benefits payable to the Astros in the event (a) Mr. Bagwell becomes totally disabled and (b) the terms of and conditions of the Policy are met.

$86K a day!
Under the Policy, the Astros are to receive $85,748 for each regular season day that Mr. Bagwell misses due to total disability. (In the world of workers comp, where indemnity is tied to the state average weekly wage, $86K represents the total lifetime settlement figure for a major disability.)

Bagwell, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list with arthritis and bone chips in his right shoulder, was deemed disabled as a professional baseball player by two physicians in January. Based on those reports, the Astros filed their insurance claim on January 27, just four days before the policy ended.

On March 13, Connecticut General sent a denial letter to the Astros, based upon the fact that Bagwell was an active player in last year's world series and then showed up for spring training this year. In other words, he was not disabled in the fall and he was not disabled in the spring. They don't accept the January finding. The Astros counter that Bagwell's being on the series roster was in honor of his years of service to the team, not his very limited capabilities last fall. And even though he tried to play in spring training, his injuries prevented him from doing so.

Modified Duty?
Unfortunately for the carrier, the Astros play in the National League, where there is no provision for a designated hitter. Even though Bagwell's bad shoulder prevents him from throwing the ball well enough to play the field, he might be able to swing a bat. But that "reasonable accommodation" would be an option only in the American League.

So no modified duty for Bagwell. It's full duty or nothing. The amount of money at stake in this situation is mind-boggling. On a common sense level, it's simply absurd. It's enough to make you shut down your computer and head home, where you can set up a portable TV on the patio, pop open your favorite brew and catch the first pitch of the weekend series.

Posted by Jon Coppelman at 10:34 AM
Workers' Compensation Insider